051: Belgium — Part Two: Entry One.
"Just make it happen."
That was the response that got me here.
"The hardest week in cycling." Is what Bill Strickland called it when he told me about it back in February. "Figure out how to get there, just make it happen." I pressed him for more details but the Greyhounds got in the way.
They were buy one get one free.
I woke up the next day late for a meeting with Radio Freddy. A monster headache ringing in my ears, but also with a nagging thought in the back of my mind. Could I make it back to Belgium this year? Would the cycling gods smile on me one more time and get me in to Flanders - Gent Wevelgem and the most coveted of all bicycle races Paris-Roubaix?
A car ride, a plane, train and two busses later and I find myself in the Flanders convention center in Gent. Waiting to hear back from my Ridley correspondent (it just sounded a little more "spy" that way) to find out if we've got bikes for tomorrows start.
So, I guess in a way, I've made it happen. I didn't come alone this time either. Embrocation Rider Peter Bradshaw has accompanied me on this one. He packed up his kit and met me at the train station in Brussels. Who knows what sort of adventures lay in store for us, only time and cobbles will tell.
However, tomorrow I'm ditching him tomorrow to do the longer ride. Not quite sure why he wants to go light on this one, but whatever.
The best part about this plan is that not only to I get to traverse these broken cobbles, but then the next day I get to view the Pro's attack the same venue. What I'll do is learn the curves in the road, watch for where the road will break up the pack...and then go there.
I haven't decided which is going to be more interesting. Participating in my own demise at the hands of the course or watching everyone else break themselves over the same roads.
Side Note: There is one Beer here in Belgium that is only available through the Abbey at which it is made. Aside from a few illegal bars that sell it the only way to get it is to call up and 'reserve a few casks.' Seriously. This is what we will be drinking while we watch Gent-W. Just so you know.
I also picked up this book. Of Walking in Ice by Werner Herzog. He's made a few appearances here and there on this blog, so it should come as no surprise that the film director is one of my favorites. Seriously, this book is no exception. When Herzog finds out that his friend Lotte Eisner has fallen ill and is about to die and takes it upon himself to walk from Munich to Paris to tend to her.
This is what I'm talking about.
I'm hoping that the sheer physicality of the next week is going to reveal something. Something about myself? Maybe it will be the riding? Maybe it will be the drinking? Maybe the combination of the both. Either way I'm convinced somethings going to happen.